Last week, Bon Appétit unveiled their plans for a new “Late Night” menu in Kaplan’s Grill. Along with the return of the Dub Box, the new menu is one of two Bon Appétit amenities to launch this Spring Term. The menu launched on Friday, April 7, in the cafe. Large cardboard signs advertised this new program.
The menu consists of a pared-down version of the usual café fare, with several bonus options to appeal to the later crowd. “We like to be innovative and creative,” said General Manager of Bon Appétit at Lawrence, Julie Severance. “This was a way for us to respond to the desires of the students and create a new menu that would have some exciting offerings,” she continued.
Students can order à la carte from a list of appetizers, salads, burgers, quesadillas and “favorites.” Although Bon Appétit removed some popular options, such as paninis, bagels and breakfast sandwiches, the company included several new products. The re-introduction of mozzarella sticks, which had disappeared from the regular Kaplan’s menu in 2014, caused quite a stir upon its announcement. New products such as the loaded baked potato and the caprese turkey burger, along with a weekly “Late Night Special,” caught students’ attention.
This new menu has been in the works since Winter Term. “We began discussing it after we received a lot of feedback via comment cards concerning the lack of appetizer favorites in Kaplan’s,” explained Severance. “On many late nights, one quarter of Kaplan’s business is done in the last three hours of the day. The new menu reflects many choices that can be executed by the kitchen in a timely manner.”
Students’ reactions in the first week have been mixed. Many students welcomed back their mozzarella sticks with open arms, happy to try out the new late-night foods. “I really missed the mozzarella sticks, and I think this shows that Bon Appétit does listen to some of our concerns,” said senior Emily Allen. “Sure, the menu is smaller, but who needs that many choices at 11 p.m.?” This week’s special, onion rings with a side of sauce, impressed many students. “Those onion rings were seriously good,” raved junior Adam McDonald. “They were more expensive than I’d like, but I would still order them again.”
However, some other students see the new plan as an attempt to cut costs by slashing services and customer choice. “I really don’t like that they’re lying about it,” noted senior Nathan Whiteman. “It seems like they’re just trying to give us fewer choices while telling us it’s a fun new program. It’s not, it’s just about the bottom line.”
Regardless of student opinions on the matter, Kaplan’s is the only on-campus venue that serves food after 11 p.m. Students filled the cafe at about the same rates as usual this week, eager to get their late-night grease fix.
While many students have not yet decided what their opinion on the new menu is, it seems that the Late Night program is here to stay. Severance made it clear that Bon Appétit would continue to listen to student concerns and tailor the program to Lawrence’s needs. She stated, “We hope to gather feedback about the new menu and we’ll go from there.”